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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-28-10, 10:34 PM   #1
Vegaman
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Bianchi Volpe Saved From SS Cruiser Indignity

I recently purchased a Volpe frame from a CL add. The PO had purchased the frame and made it up into a single speed beach cruiser for which he wanted $350. In the add he stated he would be open to other offers so I proposed purchasing the frame for $175. He agreed to show it and I went to look over the frame. He had removed some expensive wheels and cranks common to the fixie crowd. I turned the BB axle by hand and noted the gritty motion. He said, "feel how smooth the BB is". I laughed to myself but I still wanted the frame. I left with the frame and we were both happy.
I have spent the past two months rebuilding the 2003 Volpe into a worthy commuter and I am almost there but first here are the pics from the CL add:

I removed the bottom bracket and found significant quantities of superficial rust. The headset was also rust flake infested so I cleaned and repacked the headset and replaced the BB with a Truvativ unit. The dropout "polishing" shows significant wear so I think the original owner likely used the frame for cyclocross. The rust indicates that the inside of the frame got pretty wet. So frame saver throughout.

I bought a Truvativ Elita triple crankset as spec'd in 2003. I found a long cage Ultegra RD on eBay, handle bars 105 early STI and the seat at the SF Bike Swap. Then I added an Axiom rack and fenders from Bens and Novarra pannier from REI. I am pleased with the result.

These pictures are at Sunnyvale Baylands Park on my 10m commute. I am pleased in that I can maintain my 40 minute commute time while getting the back pack off my back. I used to ride my Electric Rose Bianchi to work with the back pack, the Volpe is much more comfortable.

To be honest I spent about as much as an equivalent new bike would cost, (Jamis Aurora). Of course it took me three tries on the FD, the first was top pull not bottom pull and the second was an Ultegra unit but it contacted the middle sprocket so I finally went with the Tiagra unit that worked correctly. I have enjoyed the experience and appreciate all the input from the pictures and threads on this forum.
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File Type: jpg volpe cl 4..jpg (7.1 KB, 92 views)
File Type: jpg Volpe web 2.jpg (42.6 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg Volpe web 6.jpg (38.9 KB, 59 views)
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Old 12-28-10, 10:57 PM   #2
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Job well done, that cruiser was an atrocity.
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Old 12-28-10, 11:55 PM   #3
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Job well done, that cruiser was an atrocity.
Thanks, yeah a frame as nice as the Volpe deserves a better life than a cruiser.
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Old 12-29-10, 12:06 AM   #4
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Job well done, that cruiser was an atrocity.
+1 As a cruiser it was an abomination.
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Old 12-29-10, 02:22 AM   #5
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The good thing about a bike is you can customize your particular ride. A Bianchi Volpe cruiser is an interesting departure from the norm. Keep it light, fast and fun!
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Old 12-29-10, 07:41 AM   #6
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Nice save! I passed up an opportunity to buy a Taiwan-made Bianchi that had been lightly cruiserized from a pawn shop a few years ago, and have been kicking myself ever since...
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Old 12-29-10, 09:31 PM   #7
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I have a 2006 Volpe... a very nice ride. Great light touring frame.

I have seen the frame set up as a single speed, but never as a coaster.
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Old 12-29-10, 10:43 PM   #8
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I have a 1990 Volpe that I have as my cross race rig, setup 1x9 with a 42 up front. Great bike for me being it was my first season racing cross and I went from the bottom half of the finishers to the top half include a finish in the top 15 my last race. Such an awesome and versatile bike!
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Old 12-29-10, 11:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the support. I really like the Volpe. It feels rock solid and I look forward to many miles ahead.

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I have a 1990 Volpe that I have as my cross race rig, setup 1x9 with a 42 up front. Great bike for me being it was my first season racing cross and I went from the bottom half of the finishers to the top half include a finish in the top 15 my last race. Such an awesome and versatile bike!
I have thought of using this bike for all three of its capabilities, touring, commuting and cyclocross. I haven't done cross yet but there is a growing community here in the SF Bay area. They had a course set up at the SF Bike Expo and it looked like a blast. Congrats on improving your rating and cross skills.

Question: when you set up with a single in front do you have to get a special crank or change the BB or do you just take off the sprockets you don't want? I have thought of doing this for my commute, with no hills I can easily stay on one front sprocket. Of course if I did touring I would want the triple.
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Old 12-30-10, 12:39 AM   #10
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For a single up front you don't have to have a special crankset, you're right you just take of the chainwheel(s) that you don't want and remove the front der. I'm running an FSA Gossamer on mine with external bb and a 42t ring on the outside, you might be able to run something smaller on the inside and have a bashguard on the outside but with my setup there wouldn't have been enough clearance.

Glad you like your Volpe, I snagged my frame from the graveyard at a lbs for free and built it up with used components from my team mates.



At my last race of the season, total mud-fest but I seem to be the best in those situations.
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Old 12-30-10, 12:59 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input on the conversion to a single in front. ^^ All that mud looks like fun!
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Old 12-30-10, 07:48 AM   #12
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I just use my Volpe for commuting and have visions of touring, but haven't done it so far. I like your red frame, and you should consider yourself lucky that you found a year model that still has fork braze-ons. I'm not sure when they stopped manufacturing them, but mine is a 2008 so sometime between '03 and '08. Enjoy it!
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Old 12-30-10, 01:52 PM   #13
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I just use my Volpe for commuting and have visions of touring, but haven't done it so far. I like your red frame, and you should consider yourself lucky that you found a year model that still has fork braze-ons. I'm not sure when they stopped manufacturing them, but mine is a 2008 so sometime between '03 and '08. Enjoy it!
Yeah, my touring dreams are dependent on vacation from work and time but it might happen some day.
Weird that they stopped putting on those front rack mounts.
You have the same fenders as I do. The online store, (Ben's) didn't ship the bracket for mounting at the rear brake bridge. My complaint has been ignored so I am going to have to come up with some home garage fabrication to attach it properly.
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